Namibia Postpones Hunting Concession Allocations Again


Published: January - 2009

Last month, Namibia Parks and Wildlife Management announced it was finally auctioning those government hunting concessions that have been on hold now for several years. Nine trophy hunting areas, including three black rhino concessions, were to be auctioned on December 19. I say "were" because, you guessed it, once again Namibian authorities postponed the auction with no explanation as to why.

Since 2005, Namibia has put off auctioning its government concessions, reportedly due to issues with Black Economic Empowerment (BEE). For the past four years, Namibia has struggled to find a way for native peoples to benefit economically from the eco-tourism and safari industries. It was the question of BEE and how to apply it to safari hunting in government concessions that continued to delay the tendering of these areas. This time, it appeared authorities had solved the issued by offering economic incentives to safari companies with a 20 percent ownership by "formerly disadvantaged" Namibians. Incentives were also offered to companies hiring "formerly disadvantaged" PHs. Additionally, safari companies operating in government concessions are required to hire their camp staff from the local communities. I was also told that the ministry would be giving several native communities located within various national parks the concession rights within those parks. Those communities would then be free to tender the concessions to a safari operator.

With these BEE measures in place, it's anybody's guess what the new reasons are for the most recent delay. Who knows whether these concessions will ever be auctioned? The irony, of course, is that the native communities in question cannot benefit at all from the safari industry if hunting never occurs. Of course, hunting continues in Namibia on private ranches and conservancies....

........(continued)

 
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